Remote environments can be challenging to navigate under normal circumstances. Add in a global environment of stress and uncertainty, and those relationships and engagements can be even more difficult to manage.
If you ever needed cognitive diversity and thinking agility, now is the time! With the current global atmosphere of rampant change and volatility, you need to leverage all of the thinking resources available to you, especially when it comes to effective decision making in the face of crisis.
Everything in the world around us has changed. But have you? Has your team?
Here’s the challenge: Change requires a different mindset, but the brain loves routine. It naturally seeks and organizes around patterns and mental maps you’ve developed in your thinking throughout the course of your life. Sometimes these maps are helpful; sometimes they’re not. Most change requires that we challenge our mental maps and form new connections in the brain—and this takes energy and motivation.
Not only that, isolated facts have little effect on mindsets. This probably isn’t news to you if you’ve ever read comments on social media or argued with someone over a heated topic. If the fact doesn’t fit the current mindset, it gets rejected instantly.
What is it about our brains that resists change so tenaciously? Why do we fight, even what we know to be in our interests?
If you’re a leader, you set the direction and vision for your organization or department, but there’s still a lot that’s not completely under your control: the behavior of other people, the state of the economy, the unfolding of world events, the overall pace of change. Sure, you can anticipate and react to these things, but you can’t totally control them.
What’s surprising, though, is how few leaders take the time to notice the one thing they can always control, even when the world is out of control: their thinking.
Whenever a disruptive business story breaks—like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods—the innovation mandates follow. The message: If you don’t start rethinking your game and, in some cases, even reinventing your mission, you could be the next cautionary tale, the “slow giant that failed to innovate.”
As companies focus more intently on innovation, whether it’s the big, transformational kind or smaller, incremental improvements and pivots, we’re also seeing a growing trend in recognizing the value of diversity in the innovation process. McKesson, for example, proclaimed in their 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Report, “We believe a diverse workforce is a fundamental building block for creativity and innovation.” And Apple CEO Tim Cook has said, “I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that.”
But clearly it’s not as simple as all that. If it was, we’d be seeing a lot more innovative output.
What’s the number one thing your company can do to attract the best and brightest up-and-coming talent? Provide them with opportunities to learn and grow.
But what about keeping them once they join your organization?
More and more, companies are discovering that an effective mentoring program is one of the most powerful ways to build loyalty. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, millennial employees who intend to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).
But it’s not as simple as setting up a mentoring program. Whether or not a mentor pair is successful is highly dependent on the effectiveness of the mentor-mentee match.
So, how do you make a good match?
In Verizon Conferencing’s “Meetings in America” study, 91% of meeting attendees admitted to daydreaming during meetings. Nearly 40% of the respondents said they’ve taken a nap during a meeting. Are people sleeping through your meetings?
With attention at a premium in today’s world, keeping people engaged, even when they’re sitting right in front of you, is one of the biggest challenges you face when leading a meeting. If they’re not literally asleep, your participants might be texting, checking their emails or just generally tuned out. Telling people to put away their phones isn’t the answer. Making your meetings more effective is.
“If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself.”
This quote from Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of Visa International, is a constant reminder to me that the ability to influence others hinges on what you see when you look at yourself—specifically, at the way you think.
There’s a lot of mystique around what makes leaders tick, but one thing is clear: truly effective leaders are ambidextrous in their thinking. In the early stages of solving problems or making decisions, they consider all of the available options. For them, it's not an “either option A or option B” world. It's “option A and option B.”
In other words, in Whole Brain® Thinking terms, most CEOs are multi-dominant in their thinking preferences. They have a natural mental agility that allows them to move through several different modes of thinking. During a single conversation, they might analyze the causes of a problem (A-quadrant thinking) and offer a creative solution (D quadrant) that enhances the customer experience (C quadrant). In addition, they might translate that solution into a project plan with a detailed list of next steps (B quadrant).
By most accounts, the Millennial generation is the most exhaustively studied and researched generation of all time. Organizations obsess and scrutinize the data to see what the implications are for business and the future of the workforce. What do Millennials want? What motivates them? How can we keep them—and keep them engaged?
Making sweeping, generalized statements about any large group of people is an easy trap to fall into, and that’s often the case with the way statistics about Millennial turnover and retention rates are interpreted. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2016, 44% are willing to leave their current employer for a new organization or to do something different within the next two years. Two in three expect to leave by 2020.
The oversimplified, boiled-down conclusion: This is a group of perennial job-hoppers who don’t have any real allegiance to their companies. But dig a little deeper, and you might find that the bigger story here is that many companies aren’t giving Millennials much reason to stay. And the issue may not be so neatly tied to a single generation.
On day one of men’s tennis action at this year’s Olympics, American Jack Sock, ranked 23rd in the world, was quickly eliminated from singles competition after he lost in straight sets to 118th-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan.
It wasn’t his first setback.
Just one day before he was scheduled to leave for Rio, Sock was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. But neither the coughing and aching or the first-round loss would knock him down for long.